Warning: This blog has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead. Forewarned is forearmed.
I am no gardener. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know I can’t sew, either.
For Mother’s Day, Jonathon and Ruby planted a whole mess of petunias. I adore them. They have such cheerful little faces. Their fragrance is spicy-sweet, and when the wind blows, their fragrance wafts all over the property. Best of all, I only need to water them. Well, maybe just a *little* fertilizer. And cat contributions.
Well…that’s not entirely true. I also have to keep up with removing the spent flowers. This allows the nutrients to keep flowing to the leaves and fosters new buds and blossoms. According to eHow.com:
Petunias are annual flowers that blossom in the spring until the first frost in the fall. Petunias grow in flowerbeds and pots and range in a wide variety of colors. Deadheading a petunia extends the time that the flowers will grow blooms. It will also increase the number of blossoms on the plant, so that it looks healthier, and removing the dead and dying blossoms will prevent seed maturation.
As I plucked off the dried-up blossoms, I felt a prompting. “Leave the dead things alone.” Some things simply can’t be resuscitated no matter how hard you try. So…don’t.
I started thinking about how seeds need to die before they can grow into plants. The seed doesn’t stay solid, hard and compact. Its potential is released only when it surrenders. Jesus said in John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.” I always thought of this in the context of new conversions, new friends in the kingdom of God. That is one of the meanings. Maybe it’s more than that. Maybe our old dreams need to die so we can be redirected and find the better path, the new “lives” God has waiting for us. I know I’ve written about this before in other posts, but it bears repeating. We can grow and bloom in a different capacity. We aren’t tied to the “one thing” we’re doing now. His redirects are better than our Plan A. Our God is so creative! So, our lives will continually be filled with “death”, as we lay down our lives in service and devotion to Him. We will be called to new focuses and new levels, which will mean reaching for new things as we let go of the old. Some things will die on their own, their death apparent to us. Others will need to be left behind. A few might even cack because we accidentally killed them. God can use even those corpses. And, as a result, we will be filled with new life – “rivers of living water” – to share with others.
These petunias, though wonderfully vibrant now, will die late in the fall. The frosty weather will inevitably finish them. I know my time with them is limited, and therefore precious. May I hold the stages and situations and serendipity I find myself in currently with the same joy and gladness.